Posts

What's Wrong With You?

What’s wrong with you?  When we ask this question, are we really look for a justification from the other person or are we caustically pointing out that they aren’t like us?  In all honesty, I think this is more of a declaration than a question – it  probably should be interpreted, “There is something wrong with you!”.  This seems to be the shorthand version of “How can you believe that what you are saying, doing or thinking has any credence?  You, obviously, are doing, saying or believing in a way that does not meet my approval, so you must be wrong!”.  How many people who have been confronted with this simply-worded statement have walked away from relationships?  How many have quit jobs, organizations, churches or given up on marriages?  How many have been inundated with this accusation and been emotionally scarred?  Before we move forward with our discussion, we should understand that there are some things that are inherently wrong.  Those actions, thoughts or beliefs that are in co…

Commitment

Several years ago I was asked to be on a Board of Directors for an organization.  I gladly accepted the offer and, in the beginning, I was somewhat involved; however, as the months and years passed I became  less active.  Toward the end of my tenure I might have attended some of the meetings, but that was about the extent of my involvement.  When I look back on my time with the institution – it looks good on my resume, but that’s about it.  I didn’t really add anything to the organization and I can’t say that I made any significant difference in their mission.     I could display my Board Of Directors “Thank You” plaque, but in all honesty I didn’t deserve it.  I am sure that there are some Boards that promote ceremonial membership, but, typically, when most organizations ask you to join them, they are wanting more than your name, they want involvement.  They want us to do something to enhance their outreach.  They ask for our action as well as our reputation.   The reason for this sel…

Friendship

The concept of friendship is ancient.The Old Testament put it eloquently when it noted, “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.” (Proverbs 17:17).  The adage “people need people” might also be interpreted as “people need friends”.With such an extensive history in the field of friend-making one might think that it should be a breeze today, but I think that friendships are waning in modern society.  Some have even attempted to reduce friendship to a scientific process, but human interaction is not cold and calculated.  This brief bulletin article cannot completely address how to be good friends, but here are a few thoughts on developing deeper interpersonal relationships: 1).  Be willing to touch.  Modern society has shunned touching.  Social media interaction, personal space expansion, fear of germs and the perception of inappropriate touching is drawing us toward a touchless world.  There might be reasons to be cautious of physical contact, but friendships ne…

Decently And In Order

Many of us have heard the caution “everything must be done decently and in order”.  Through the years this has been applied to discussions ranging from singing camp songs on Sunday morning to applause during worship to raising hands while singing and praying.  For better or for worse, this warning has become kind of a catch-all for taking the time to examine the prudence of introducing something different in worship.   The authority for this warning comes from Paul’s caution, “But all things must be done properly and in an orderly manner.” (I Corinthians 14:40).  To appreciate these words we must consider their context – the worship in Corinth.  The church was struggling with a spirit of disunity that invaded every aspect of their Christianity, including the worship.  There were people trying to out-shout each other during their assembly. There were multiple languages being spoken, but not understood.  Their “fellowship dinners” lacked fellowship (much less equity) and the Lord’s Suppe…

Love: The Ultimate Public Display Of Religion

When and where I grew up (as well as in the family that raised me) public displays of religion were not necessarily encouraged.  Sure, we were expected to be seen walking into the church building every time the doors were opened, but things like wearing religious jewelry, taking a Bible to school or publicly praying over a meal were things we didn’t do.  I am sure that every family and each person had a reason for the choices that were made, but ours was based on the negative example of the Pharisees whose religion was more for show than for spirit.   As I fast-forward through the last five decades I have come to see “religious displays” in a more favorable light.  Today, when religious expressions seem to be based more on genuine faith than showiness, maybe it is time we start displaying our religious nature in public.  No, praying over a meal in a restaurant or reading the Bible in the breakroom is not necessarily a sign of deep spirituality, but it does tell our neighbors something…

Dates That Live In Infamy

Each generation seems to have a “Date That Will Live In Infamy”.  For “The Greatest Generation”, their date is most likely December 7, 1941; the day Pearl Harbor was attacked.  For our generation, that date is probably September 11, 2001.  Most of us who are adults today can remember very well what we were doing the morning that the flying bombs struck the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and that lonely field in Pennsylvania.  That day brought about national mourning and changed the way many of us looked at the world. Typically, there are a couple of questions that accompany these historic dates:  Should we have known what to expect and could we have been better prepared to deal with the event?  I remember that once much of the initial shock  and sadness of 9/11 abated our national attention turned to these two questions.  For the months and years that followed we assessed the information in an effort to uncover the truth. December 7 and September 11 are important dates in our nation’s…

Labor Day

Typically, when we remember Labor Day we laud the value of our laborers.  Employees need to feel honored for the jobs they do.  This Labor Day, though, I would like to offer a bit of a different take on working.   No, the Bible doesn’t explicitly provide commandants about what type of employees would should be, but a look at the essence of the message of spiritual living provides us some insight: 1.  We should be employed.  When Adam and Eve were expelled from the Garden of Eden mankind was destined to have to work for sustenance.  In fact, God issued this proclamation, “By the sweat of your face you will eat bread, till you return to the ground, because from it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” (Genesis 3:19).  Throughout the rest of the Bible, the challenge is clear – if a man doesn’t work, he shouldn’t be allowed to eat (II Thessalonians 3:10).  I understand there are exceptions to this rule for health reasons, but the basic principle is simple, we nee…